In the good old days of the Megabucks tournaments like the High Roller and Super Hoinke, some players earned as much or more as the top stars of the PBA Tour, which kept or delayed some of them from becoming stars on the PBA Tour.
“Anyone can beat anyone in a one game match!” was the basic Megabucks slogan.
There were six-figure top prizes, five-figure side event prizes and players winning thousands in brackets.
Today, the Megabucks are a shell of what they once were — like the PBA and much of the rest of bowling.
And many have given up any dream of restoring those entities and/or the sport to its former glory.
Billy Eysoldt is not one of those people.
He is attempting to bring back the Megabucks with The Proprietors Cup, which will be held at Beaver-Vu Bowl in Dayton, Ohio, July 13-15.
Eysoldt, who manages Beaver-Vu, is charging a $1,100 entry fee and will pay $96,000 for first if he gets 400 entries, $75,000 at 300, $52,000 at 200, $27,500 at 100, and $15,000 at 50.
There also will be The Ace Mitchell Team Challenge and side events for seniors and women that aim to pay $10,000.
Eysoldt already has been holding side events around the country that feature paid entries into The Proprietors Cup as the top prize.
That, he says, is a key.
"The big focus of our plan is the satellite events," he said in a message. "Bowlers can win an entry for a fraction of the entry cost! This is what has fueled poker!"
Eysoldt's events are open to everyone, even PBA members, which could scare off many bowlers.
But the lane condition will be what he calls a " House Tourney Shot" — a modified version of the USBC White and Blue patterns being developed for him by Kegel that lesser bowlers may see as a lot friendlier than a Sport level PBA or USBC shot.
The format for the main tournament is 12 games of qualifying on July 14, with the top 20 percent of the field advancing to Sunday's Cashers Round and scores carrying over. With 55 or more entries, bowlers will bowl six more games before the field is cut to the top 10. If there are less than 55 entries, all Cashers Round bowlers make the top 10.
From there it is:
Game 1: 10 bowlers, 2 per pair, 1 game, lowest 2 scores out.
Game 2: 8 bowlers, 2 per pair, 1 game, lowest 2 scores out.
Game 3: 6 bowlers, 2 per pair, 1 game, lowest 2 scores out.
(Lanes are assigned randomly each game.)
The final four bowl one game with the low scoring player eliminated each game until the winner is determined.
Eysoldt is listing those who have entered and the projected payouts here. The most notable name is PBA Tour star Sean Rash, who won an event in Detroit to earn an entry, but several of the country’s top non-PBA members are listed as well, including Alex Cavagnaro, George Gohagan III, Anthony Pepe, Mike Rose Jr, Fero Williams and Brian Ziesig.
The tournament’s Facebook page is here.
I have a big family party that weekend, but the Senior event might interest me next year when I will be eligible.
Here is what Eysoldt said in a recent Facebook post:
I throw a lot of things out there and none if it is heresay! I work at a 64 lane center as a manager and I have for 15 years. I have many industry friends and and many proprietors that are friends. I am not bashing the PBA for the way it runs its business, I like the PBA, it is the dream of a bowler to one daywin the Big one as a PBA bowler! The problem is, sponsorship dollars in this country are determined by ratings, and bowling is not getting them. We can all sit here and say everyone should throw money in a big jar, but it won’t happen. Ask yourself, why doesn’t the BPAA promote the PBA? hmm... I not only know the tournaments, how they run, what they cost, what they ‘can’ generate in bar, concession, and pro-shop sales. Its my life, its all I do. I am the founder of The Proprietors Cup, a Megabuck Bowling Event, and that is the framework for the next ‘mini-tour’. Proprietors will be asked to back it, not with a check, but by sending bowlers to the event. The more entries, the bigger the payout. Satellite tournaments will also help cultivate this idea. It will take years and tens of thousands of dollars, but get ready because your going to see these tournaments come to your state if I have anything to say about it! The Pro Bowlers are thanking me for doing this, giving them the opportunity to make more money! The Industry is behind it, look at all the sponsors. Just check out my website, www.proprietorscup.com, and you will see my vision. We even take care of the seniors and ladies with their own MEGABUCK events. I am an outsider who loves the game and I have taken my own money to create all this. I hope people realize that bowling is not dying, College and High School Bowling is everywhere! These bowlers need more then 10 tournaments a year though to dedicate their lives to the sport, as YOU and I have!